BEAUFORT – The Mariners went 2-8-1 in the regular season, with both wins going to a winless Lejeune team.
They didn’t look like a team with this resume in the 2A first round men’s soccer game with Farmville Central.
The No. 10 seed East Carteret (now 3-8-1) overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit with three goals in five minutes to advance to the second round. The Mariners entered the game ranked 42nd out of 50 NC High School Athletic Association 2A RPI teams while the Jaguars were 21st.
“I think we have exceeded expectations,” said coach Antonio Diaz with a laugh. “Games like tonight are the reason you train. Tonight, finally, we clicked.
The Mariners won their first playoff game since 2016, and the magnitude of the moment has not been lost on some.
“All I can say is now I have two four-year-old captains who are crying tears of joy,” Diaz said. “I’m so happy for them.
Evan Fullwood and Logan Pilcher have been contributors since Game 1 of their freshman year. Heading into the first round of the playoffs, East was 8-39-2 in their four years.
The Mariners haven’t finished above 0.500 since 2016 and haven’t won more than five games in a season in the past five seasons.
“I told the kids this was an opportunity, and we had to take it,” Diaz said.
The No. 23 seed Farmville Central (7-8-1) can sympathize with East’s fight.
The Jaguars were in the playoffs for the second time in program history and the first time since 2009. At the start of this season, they had only finished once in the previous eight seasons, with a record. 32-98-5 during this period.
“We really arrived without expecting what was going to happen,” said assistant coach Adrian Atkins instead of head coach Ron Denham. “I think the guys played a good game, played a good team. We wish them good luck in the next round.
Farmville Central looked in the first half the team could advance to the next round after holding a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks and a 7-5 advantage in penalties. The Jaguars controlled possession and scored with five minutes left when Juilian Argomaniz found Jimmy Garcia in goal on a cross.
“We started off very shaky,” Diaz said. “Those first 20 minutes, they had so many corners. I was a little worried. “
Junior East goalie Wyatt Nowacek has bailed out his team time and time again, making five saves in the first 26 minutes of play. Junior defenseman Chris Herrera and freshman defenseman Liam Harding also stood out on the field. bottom line.
Despite the lopsided possession, East had some long runs and chances to find the back of the net with Jacob Nelson scoring before being called offside and the ball bouncing off the post after a save attempt on a Pilcher shot. .
“We could have scored, and at halftime. it could have been any score, ”Diaz said. “We found the channels, the spaces to pass the ball, and we knew it was going to happen.”
The second half was a very different game, with East overtaking the visitors 4-2 in the final 40 minutes.
“Little by little we found our place on the pitch,” said Diaz. “We started to give our runners the right passes. It always helps when you have very physical and aggressive guys like Charles (Matheka) and Jacob. They have the will to win and have helped us tremendously. “
Matheka equalized 10 minutes into the second quarter, and Nelson scored in the same minute on an assist from Jacob Mackey. Nelson then scored five minutes later, and it was suddenly 3-1.
“We started off strong, but got a little confused at the end, a little confused,” Atkins said. “We have seven freshmen on the team so we have a lot of things to grow up with. I think it was nerves and inexperienced players. And sometimes I think the intimidation factor came in. It was a much bigger team with juniors and seniors. We will learn from it, we will improve.
The Mariners controlled possession in the second half until a late push from the Jaguars gave them three corner kicks in the final 21 minutes and a goal from Nick Reida with 46 seconds left.
East will travel to Spring Creek next Thursday. The No. 7 seeded Gators went 15-2-1 overall and 10-0 to win the 2A Neuse 6 conference. They are 10th in the NCHSAA 2A RPI.
The Mariners have played at Spring Creek three times in the past seven years, losing 5-2 in 2019 and 2015 in the regular season. They beat the Gators 2-0 in the third round of the 2014 playoffs.
“At least we know their style,” Diaz said. “They’re good. It’s mostly a Latino team so they always have good footwork.
Here are the results of the game:
Farmville Center ……………………………………. 1 1-2
Carteret East ………………………………………… . 0 3- 3
Farmville East Carteret
9 shots 9
10 Corner kicks 0
6 backups 6
8 Fouls committed 8
0 yellow cards 1
0 Yellow / red cards 0
FC – Garcia (assist from Argomaniz), 35th min.
CE – Matheka, 50th min.
CE – Nelson (help from Mackey), 50th min.
CE – Nelson, 55th min.